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Recap / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S5 E10 "Past Life"

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Coulson and the team work to defeat Kasius and return home. However, questions arise on whether they can truly rewrite the past.


Tropes in this episode:

  • An Arm and a Leg: Future Yo-Yo's arms have been mutilated.
  • Artistic License – Geology: Flint and Tess imply that Flint's powers can be used to rebuild Earth. The problem is that Earth is more than just rocks.
  • Bayonet Ya: Turns out that Mack can reverse the axe-head on his Shotgun Axe to act as a bayonet, which he uses to impale Kasius from behind.
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  • The Berserker: Kasius forces Tye to consume a Psycho Serum to sic him on Team Coulson. The substance makes Tye ragingly violent and unable to feel pain. Later, Kasius also drinks the Odium to make himself into one.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: Kasius' Psycho Serum (Odium) causes this in Tye, turning his eyes completely black. It doesn't have the same effect on Kasius himself, though black blood still comes out of his eyes and mouth.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Deke arrives to the Zephyr just in time to shoot a Kree that is about to kill Enoch.
    • Jemma arrives at the most opportune moment before Mack is almost killed by Kasius' savage beating.
  • Big "NO!": Mack shouts this when Kasius kills Future Elena.
  • Body Horror: Kasius's seer is the future version of Elena, captured after her failed solo attempt to kill the Kree. She has the same ghastly appearance as Tess due to being revived, killed, and revived again over and over for years in order to harvest her blood. Both of her forearms have been amputated as well, leaving her with useless stumps.
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  • Bond One-Liner: After killing his scientist for insisting that Sinara's body is too complex to revive, he tells him, "Then I suggest you study the condition more closely."
  • Boom, Headshot!: Kasius disposes of his scientist via pistol after he tells him that it is impossible to revive Sinara.
  • Broken Bird: Future Yo-Yo, as a a result of watching Mack die, being constantly killed and revived by the Kree and the knowledge of being trapped in a Stable Time Loop in which she meets her past self, is dispirited and lacking all but one speck of hope.
  • Buffy Speak: Daisy refers to the drug that Kasius uses on Tye as "space PCP."
  • Call-Back:
    • When Coulson meets the revived Tess, he sympathizes with her experience, as he himself has been revived by Kree blood.
    • Back in "A Life Spent", Kasius notes how the walls of the Lighthouse's lower levels are made of limestone. Here, they need limestone to construct a new Monolith, so they get it from the lower level walls.
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    • In "Orientation, Part Two," the Kree that capture Mack mention that he'd do well in Kasius' arena. They were right.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Odium that Kasius mentioned in Episode 7 is seen here and its effects are terrifying.
    • Jemma removes the audio servitor device from one of Kasius's servants, thinking it would only be done to restore the servant's hearing. She then proceeds to use that device on Kasius himself.
    • We also discover why Kasius already seemed to know Elena in the previous episode.
  • Cliffhanger: The team races to get through the portal back to the past, but what will happen to the team with the knowledge they now possess? Coulson knows his death is coming, while Elena knows her own future and her future self's warning that they must let Coulson die. Daisy thinks she can no longer trust her own powers, and FitzSimmons are dubious about their chances of saving the world. It's also not clear that Mack, Elena and Simmons reach the Monolith in time.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Enoch gets quite painfully drained to power the Monolith.
  • Death by Irony: Jemma gets her revenge by shoving the enslaving metal slug into Kasius' ear. Kasius recognizing her trying to attack while unable to hear is the distraction Mack needs to finish him off. Better yet, Kasius gets skewered from the back with the shotgun axe, much like how he killed his brother with a bayonet.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Kasius' Seer, an older version of Elena, has firmly crossed this, knowing that everyone she cares about is gone, that she herself gets killed on a whim only to be resurrected just to get more information as well as DNA out of her, and believing/suspecting that the future and the past cannot be changed because she has already met herself in the Lighthouse.
    • Kasius himself seems to cross it when he finally accepts that Sinara is dead, ultimately drinking the Odium, which will kill him regardless of the outcome of fighting Team Coulson.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Whatever is killing Coulson looks very similar to Tony Stark's palladium poisoning from Iron Man 2. It's unclear if it's related or if it's just a similar makeup effect.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After everything that's happened so far this season, Kasius is killed, S.H.I.E.L.D. makes it back home, and the last we see of the future, Flint and Tess are planning to use his powers to rebuild the Earth.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Kasius wanted his father's approval after his banishment, so does everything he can to regain his lost honor, including ingesting the Odium to become a 'true Kree'. Likewise, his feelings for Sinara, while manipulative and dismissive, were nevertheless true when he discovers her dead in the Zephyr. He goes through several stages of grief over the course of the episode, including denial, bargaining (attempting to bring her back through the Kree resurrection process), anger and finally accepting she's dead and envying her position.
  • Evil Is Petty: Kasius kills Future Elena just to hurt Mack before trying to kill him.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Enoch seems at peace with the fact that he needs to die in order to activate the Monolith, knowing that by doing so, he'll save his friends. It's downplayed with Deke: he's accepted that he's going to die helping Enoch activate the Monolith, but he's certainly not "at peace."
    Deke: I always knew that working with you guys was gonna blow up in my face! It's about to get literal!
  • Fate Worse than Death: Poor future Elena got both of her arms cut off, killed and revived endlessly and forced to act as a Seer for Kasius.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Enoch and Deke die in the process of sending S.H.I.E.L.D. home, due to them needing to use Enoch's battery to power the Monolith activation machine, which causes him to explode with enough force to destroy several levels of the Lighthouse.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Simmons gets the drop on Kasius and applies one of his own Servitor ear implants on him. This distracts and impairs him long enough for Mack to finish him off.
  • I Choose to Stay:
    • Daisy wants to stay behind to eliminate the possibility of quaking the Earth apart. Coulson however is having none of it and ICEs her.
    • Flint is offered the chance to go to the past by both Mack and Coulson, but declines, saying that he has more work to do.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Daisy ends up killing Tye by stabbing him in the heart with his own knife.
    • Kasius's fate at the end of the episode is to be gutted by Mack's shotgun axe.
  • In the Back: Kasius finally meets his end via sneak attack from the shotgun-axe.
  • Internal Reveal: Mack learns that FitzSimmons are engaged.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Before he is finally killed, Kasius gets the same deafening device he used on his Servitors forcefully shoved into his ear by Jemma.
  • Last Villain Stand: At the start of the episode, Kasius has already lost his most trusted lieutenant and his ability to create new Inhumans, and has been cut off from his human slaves. Over the course of the episode, his remaining soldiers are killed, the slaves he still has (human and Inhuman alike) are liberated, and he's ultimately left with no choice but to take the Odium (stated to be a last resort) and fight for himself.
  • Little "No": As opposed to his Big "NO!" in the previous episode, Kasius reacts quite collected to Sinara's death.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Enoch, as always, reacts quite collected after a Kree soldier puts a giant slash into his head.
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: Kasius comes to the conclusion that if he kills Team Coulson, they won't go back in time and destroy Earth, allowing his father to conquer it in the past.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • A Kree or Inhuman ingesting the Odium bleeds out of his eyes and mouth, making him resemble Ronan the Accuser with his black facial tattoos derived from a ritual using Xandarian blood.
    • The interface of Deke's helmet, shown when Flint is wearing it, looks quite similar to the shots of Tony Stark wearing the Iron Man armor.
    • The future Elena missing both arms references her comic self, who lost her arms in an early mission and replaced them with robot prosthetic ones.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: According to Future!Elena the team's efforts to save Coulson are what helped doom the world.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Kasius gives Mack a brutal beating after taking the Odium.
  • No-Sell: The Odium allows Kasius to ignore a point-blank shotgun blast.
  • Off with His Head!: Fitz sets up a booby-trap that beheads some of the attacking Kree soldiers.
  • Oh, Crap!: Hek-Sel and the other Kree warriors get barely enough time for a short and shocked reaction before being sucked into space.
  • Psycho Serum: Kasius has a liquid called Odium, a serum meant to be used by outmatched Kree warriors in a Last Stand against the enemy, allowing them to die in a blaze of glory. It drives them into a berserker rage where they feel no pain and can absorb incredible damage, though the serum will in turn kill the user after some period of time. Kasius uses it first on his Inhuman trainer and then himself.
  • Slashed Throat: Kasius cuts Future Elena's throat, just to spite Mack.
  • Stable Time Loop: Elena firmly believes she has become stuck in one after discovering her future self in the Lighthouse, and seeing her past self attempt to rescue her from her confinement almost a century later. She believes that there is simply no way to save the world, as she is 'caught in an endless loop'. Nevertheless she tries to alter the loop by warning Yo-Yo against trying to save Coulson.
  • Ray of Hope Ending: The idea that Flint can rebuild the world, or at least make it minimally more livable for the human survivors of the Lighthouse, is a good place to end the future arc.
  • The Reveal:
    • Kasius's "seer" is Elena's future self, who has already been to the future and back, and is just recalling her own experiences.
    • Coulson is dying of something. All that's shown is black lines radiating from a spot below his collarbone.
    • Kasius reveals that his father wanted to conquer Earth, but the destruction of Earth robbed him of his dream.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Coulson fumbling on his jacket after a Kree/Inhuman confrontation foreshadows that he's taken a hit as if a gunshot wound.
  • Sanity Slippage: Kasius was already growing more and more unstable before, but after he sees Sinara's corpse, he is well over the line, still talking to her as if she was alive afterwards.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Coulson's darkening veins that seem to be killing him look quite similar to Tony Stark's condition in Iron Man 2.
  • Slashed Throat: Kasius kills Elena's future self via a throat cut with a small bladed weapon that appears typical of Kree.
  • Talking to the Dead: Kasius still speaks to Sinara's corpse as if she was alive, even telling Hek-Sel to shut up as they are discussing a plan. Although given that Sinara tended to communicate silently when alive, it doesn’t actually sound that different from their conversations before her death.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Hek-Sel and several Kree warriors are sucked into space after Flint shatters a window with the rocks he's gathered in space.
  • Together in Death: Reeling from Sinara's death, Kasius, upon finally accepting it, mentions how he'll be with her once the Odium has run its course through his system.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The episode ends with a cliffhanger of whether Mack, Yo-Yo, and Simmons made it back to the monolith in time, as well as whether the rest of the team makes it back home. The trailer for the next episode shows that everyone makes it back, complete with a line of Coulson saying he's glad everyone made it. On the other hand, Simmons did take her and Fitz's work on the Zephyr as proof that they'd make it back in the previous episode.
  • Tranquil Fury: Kasius's reaction to seeing Sinara's corpse is quite collected, but you can clearly see the rage in his eyes.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Kasius goes into a big one after he discovers Sinara's corpse. He orders his medic to revive her even though Kree can't be revived as humans can, kills the medic when he insists it's impossible, then starts talking to her as if she's still alive. Once the final showdown with Mack rolls around, he consumes a vial of Odium, which turns him into a raging, snarling berserker and seals his fate regardless of the fight's outcome as the Odium is lethal.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Jemma's look shows that she's visibly disturbed by the trap Fitz devises to behead the incoming Kree soldiers. Fitz's nonchalant reaction disturbs her even more. Nevertheless, it's her idea to have Flint use the rocks he gathers to kill the remaining Kree warriors.
  • Wham Line: "Phil Coulson is dying, and you have to let him." It includes a Wham Shot of Coulson's chest full of darkening veins.
  • Wham Shot: The identity of the seer is shown to Elena to be a gray, pallid older version of Elena herself.

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